We Heart: Janelle Monáe’s #BlackLivesMatter Activism

Last Friday, singer Janelle Monáe appeared on the Today show to perform as part of its summer concert series. After finishing her song “Tightrope,” she began to give an impassioned speech to the still-cheering crowd: Yes Lord! God Bless America! God Bless all who have lost lives to police brutality! We want white America to […]

13 Favorite Feminist Quotes of 2013

Here are quotes from celebrated women in 2013 that made us glow with feminist pride! It’s been a year of both triumphs and defeats for women worldwide, but one thing for certain is that there are lots of inspiring women who will never give up the fight. I have a daughter and I have granddaughters […]

Queering Black Herstory: Janelle Monae and Gladys Bentley

When I began to research Harlem Renaissance pianist and singer Gladys Bentley a little over a year ago, I was struck by her similarity to Janelle Monae, who had then just released her second album,“ArchAndroid.” Monae’s gender-queer look — black tuxedo, black-and-white saddle shoe — is strongly reminiscent of Bentley’s trademark black-or-white tuxedo, top hat and cane. And in each case, the spectacle of a Black woman performer disrupting the gender binary has prompted a flurry of speculation about her sexual orientation.

Can’t Stop the Women of Hip-Hop

My awakening to Black feminist thought came in 1989 when Queen Latifah, with British rapper Monie Love, rapped about “Ladies First” and opened the music video for this powerful track with a pantheon of fierce Black feminist icons: Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Frances E. W. Harper. Coincidentally, in the realm of the academy, Patricia Hill Collins […]